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Donkupar versus Donkupars

Three Donkupars hold the key to the survival of the coalition government headed by the NCP in Meghalaya, reports Rahul Karmakar.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2009 13:51 IST
Rahul Karmakar

Three Donkupars hold the key to the survival of the coalition government headed by the NCP in Meghalaya.

Donkupar isn't a very common name in this cloud-kissed state. But, coincidence or otherwise, it has been chasing the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) government which is still less than a year old.

Ever since he took over the reins in March last year, Chief Minister Donkupar Roy has had to endure Mining and Geology Minister Donkupar Massar's alleged "street-fighting ways". More than administration, Roy was handling hot-headed Massar – and at least three other aggressive MLAs too – last year.

This year has proved to be no different. Earlier this week, Massar ended up with four FIRs lodged against him for assaulting as many people in Nongshken constituency during the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council elections.

Under pressure from the Congress-led Opposition to drop "physical" Massar, Roy has remained non-committal. "Let the law take its own course," he had said.

The chief minister's dilemma is understandable. He fears Massar, an Independent, could cross over to the Congress if told to quit, thereby reducing the MPA's strength to 31 in the 60-member Assembly. Besides, lesser MPA constituents such as the Hill State Peoples' Democratic Party and Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement had been partners in the previous Congress-led government.

Interestingly, the course of the law would be decided upon by another Donkupar – Deputy Inspector General (Eastern Range) Donkupar Rapthap. The police officer has been entrusted to file a charge sheet against the minister as soon as credible evidence is collected against him.

"Rapthap is the best person to handle the cases related to the incidents in Nongshken," said Meghalaya police chief Kulbir Krishan. "Whoever is at fault will be strongly dealt with, even if the person holds a high post in the government."

Massar, meanwhile, has labeled the allegations of assault against him as a ploy by his political rivals to "malign my reputation". He said he had filed a counter-FIR at Pynursla police station to offset the charges.